A beautifully nostalgic church wedding sealed the commitment of Louise and Mike Hill

The love story between Louise and Mike started with a pinch of boldness and an ounce of romance. The couple met in Portsmouth while on a Christian youth camp back in 2008. After being nagged by a friend to find out who this mysterious ‘cute’ guy was, Louise cheekily threw a pebble at Mike to get his attention. It worked – the pair got talking and the rest is history!

Mike’s proposal to Louise was the perfect example of ‘when the moment is right’. Having completely planned out the whole process, on the beach while on holiday in Ilfracombe, the weather had made it slightly difficult and Mike decided that a proposal in the wind and rain probably wouldn’t have been as romantic as he would have liked. Instead, Louise was surprised with the question while they were comfortably snuggled up watching MasterChef. “I felt that this was actually a better moment to ask as we were happy and just being ourselves,” she says. Mike agrees. “In the end the way I proposed was exactly right and felt like perfect timing.”

Louise and Mike decided to have a September wedding at the St Barnabas Church in Warmley. This church has particular meaning for Louise, who has visited it every Christmas since she was very young and was able to see the spire from her parents’ house when she was growing up. For the reception venue, they instantly fell for the Somerdale Pavilion (the former Fry Club) in Keynsham, due to the warm staff who went above and beyond to meet their needs, combined with the huge variety of catering options, practical layout and beautiful views.

With Mike’s suit being chosen within his own home from Original Mobile Menswear’s extremely efficient service, Louise’s gorgeous dress (matched with classic jewellery from her mum) came from Radstock bridal shop Solitaire Brides. “Lucy and her team are so friendly and make you feel right at home, they know exactly what will suit you and can find you something even if you are really fussy like me!” Bringing her wonderful creativity, Lindsey of Perfect Petals supplied the day with a beautiful arrangement of flowers. “Lindsey is so lovely and runs her business from home. She will do anything you like, and you can chose from pictures or have something unique, and she also has a massive book of different flowers for you to choose from. She even brought a biscuit for my dog!” says Louise. The Old Bake House was enlisted to help design and make the cake, even incorporating a gluten-free layer, and making sure no special moment or memories were lost, talented photographer John Holbrook worked with Louise and Mike to ensure he captured exactly what they wanted. Friends and family also helped, and with six bridesmaids, two flower girls, a best man and five groomsmen, they definitely weren’t short of helping hands.

The vast mixture of weather on the day could have quite easily caused a few frowns, but it was far from off-putting for the couple. “In fact, it added to the day!” explains Louise. “When we were doing our photos we had a few showers but everyone just rallied round with their umbrellas and laughed it off.” It would seem that the guests’ spirits were anything but dampened, either. “Reports back the next day told us that after we left everyone got rather tipsy, the DJ put on a 90s rock set that everyone rowdily moshed to, including parents, relatives and friends, and by midnight they were all rather worse for wear!”

Reflecting back on the day, Louise enjoyed spending time together away from the whirlwind of the rest of the day. “The best part was when we left the church. We had a nice ride in our posh car to Keynsham Park, with a glass of Champagne, which is where we had our photos taken. I really liked this part of the day because we got to spend some quality time together within the rush of everything, just chatting and having a laugh.”

Mike admits his favourite part of the day was their first dance. “It was a song that meant so much to us and when the chorus came in, balloons fell from the ceiling and our parents and wedding party got up and danced too. Seeing all the people that meant the most to us dancing alongside us on our special day was amazing.” And although having their favourite individual moments, their day as a whole was quite clearly a beautiful success too. “Our day was better than we could have wished for. We got to marry the person of our dreams, surrounded by the people we love. It was everything we wanted and more.”